Question: Hi, I’ve been hearing all these rumors about Takeo Spikes and his suitors. Do you think he has a chance signing with the 49ers? If he does, when do you think he will make his decision? Patrick Willis, Manny Lawson, and Takeo Spikes would not be a bad trio. Go Niners!
Baron, San Francisco
Answer: I think the answer will come after the draft when Spikes and his agent can assess where he has the best opportunity to be a starter. For example, if the Saints take an inside linebacker in the first round of the draft, Spikes might want to look elsewhere. The system Spikes would play, whether Spikes has a chance for the playoffs and a little something called “mulah” also factor into his decision …
Question: There's been considerable talk about Synder at left guard. I believe he's an excellent player all around, but won't his height be a problem in the passing game? I seem to recall Kwame wasn't considered as an option at guard rather than tackle (where his pass blocking deficiencies are well known) because he was quite tall as well. What do you say?
Answer: When I was looking up Snyder’s height to answer your question, I expected him to be 6-3 or maybe 6-4. Actually, he’s 6-6. Funny – he doesn’t seem that tall to me, maybe because he’s got such a wide base. But to answer your question, no, I don’t think it will be a problem. Quarterbacks don’t always throw over their linemen anyway. They try to find lanes to throw into. As for Harris, he was just built differently than Snyder – longer legs, higher center of gravity. I think the big reason why he didn’t play guard, however, is that he was needed for depth at tackle. Once Jonas Jennings went down last year, Harris was the top backup on both the right and left side.
Question: ILB/OLB Dan Connor (Penn State) seems to be Nolan's type of guy: Not a super run-jump athlete, he nevertheless is a super football player, getting off-the-chart grades for toughness, instincts, football skills (eg, tackling) and football IQ. Is there any chance 49ers would take Connor at # 29 to play OLB?
Answer: You know who Connor reminds me of? Derek Smith (in his prime). If the 49ers took Connor at pick No. 29, I think they would plug him in at TED and not OLB. (And I think you could kiss Takeo Spikes goodbye as well). But I also think the 49ers believe they can find a good TED candidate later in the draft. Smith, after all, was a third-round pick. And if they don’t, they have a decent shot of landing Spikes.
Question: Aloha Matt! Off the subject a bit from draft stuff … but I really thought Baas would turn out to be a spectacular lineman and I still do--what do you think about his future? Can he be the perennial star that some of us hoped he would be? Thanks. I read you every day!
Robert, Anahola, HI
Answer: Aloha! Well, this will be the first year Baas goes into training camp with no competition. I think the 49ers were happy with what they saw from him last year. If they weren’t they’d have made a stronger push (or any push at all) to retain Justin Smiley. But as far as being “spectacular” – eh, he certainly took his time to become merely “good.’
Question: Do you see the 49ers going OT in the first and then trade down with the Dolphins if Quentin Groves were to fall? Or would they just take Groves in the first? Say DeSean Jackson fell to 29, would 49ers take him? Last one – do you see the Niners doing any trades come draft day?
Answer: I see the Niners’ list of priorities like this. A.) If Groves falls to them, they take him. B.) If not, they try to trade down and grab a couple of additional picks. C.) If neither A or B pan out, then they take the BPA, no matter the position. That could be Connor or Jackson or Early Doucet or a cornerback.
Question: I agree with your summary on Staley, but to add one point: knowing you have 'a player' (i.e. long term starter) is worth more than just the potential of the 7th overall pick, who could easily be a bust. I checked past drafts and the success rate is about 50% for the 1st round, 40% for the second, then 30%, 25%, 20% as you go on. With this in mind, it surprises me that more teams just don't trade an early pick for a bunch of later ones. Do you think the Niners, post Tampergate, will try that this year?
Answer: I totally agree with you – a Staley in the hand is worth two in the bush, if you will. And I think more teams would trade down if they could. No one wants a Top 10 pick anymore because the cost is so prohibitive and, as you noted, Top 10 picks don’t always pan out. I think the 49ers are in a good position to trade out of the first round, however, and will jump at a chance to do so.
Question: I've heard/read a lot about the Niners giving away the #7 pick in the draft. Knowing what we do about him now, if Joe Staley were in this year's draft, where do you think he would be selected?
Ron, Elk Grove
Answer: No. 7. Seriously, I think he’d be a Top 10 pick.
Question: Matt, what components of a released player's contract impact the salary cap? Specifically, I was wondering what releasing a player like Jonas Jennings who still has four years on his seven year, $36 million contract is. Which parts (i.e. signing bonus, base salary, etc) remains detrimental to the future cap and which parts do the 49ers get a reprieve on? Just trying to better understand the consequences/motivations of such a move. It wouldn’t seem to make sense given how thin we are on the o-line unless it doesn’t hurt the cap and saves money out the door. Thanks!
Answer: The player’s salary for that season plus whatever bonus money is still unpaid affect the salary cap. So, let’s say a random player – let’s call him Vladimir Maiocco – signs a six-year deal with a $20 million bonus. Maybe Maiocco turns out to be a huge bust who got caught buck naked at the Wendy’s drive-thru at 1 a.m. and his team wants to cut him at the end of three years. The cap hit would be his salary in Year Four plus the $10 million still unpaid from the bonus. The 49ers would get a reprieve on the rest of his base salary.
Question: Hey Matt, I just have to say that in being a die hard fan, your blogs and articles are always on time and on point and I thank you for keeping us all updated. Now my question is. We drafted Alex to lead, Frank to carry, Vernon to catch but why is it that we haven’t drafted a no1 receiver for the past 4 years. We try to add a receiver through free agency, and we do have Jason Hill, but at the same time he was drafted in the third round. Please can you answer why?
Answer: Nolan always has wanted this to be a run-first, pound-the-rock type of team. So, offensive linemen (three in the first three rounds) have been their priority, not receivers. Last year, the team really liked Dwayne Bowe (K.C.) but thought that Patrick Willis was better. Hard to argue with that.
Question: Hey Matt, in your opinion who would the 49ers choose at #29 and in what order between DeSean Jackson, Devin Thomas, Quentin Groves, Jeff Otah and Gosder Cherilus? Most likely only one will slip to them but which one would they be the most excited about being available to them?
Answer: I’d put the order like this: Groves, Otah (close between those two), Cherilus, Thomas, Jackson.
Question: Hi Matt, After a dismal 2007 and with the addition of Mike Martz as the team's Offensive Coordinator, the presence of Allen Rossum on Special Teams and keeping in tact (mainly) the defense from last year, which unit do you feel will make the biggest improvement? Your insight, as always, is greatly appreciated.
Answer: Offense. There’s nowhere to go but up.
Question:Matt: I am a huge 49er & BSU fan. Ryan Clady, BSU left tackle, should be long gone by the time that the 49ers pick in the first round, but what do you think about him? I, also, wanted to say hi to my brother Steve. He lives in Penryn, and is a big fan of yours!
Bruce, Meridian, ID
Answer: Hey, Steve! Wanted to let you know that Bruce says, “hi.” He loves the electric shaver you got him for Xmas. Wants to know if you and the fam are still coming over for the 4th of July. … As for Clady, I really don’t know much about him because, as you say, he stands to be long gone by the time the Niners pick.
Question: Ummmm, you played football, Matt? What position? Waterboy? Just kidding. No, seriously though, I didn't get into college ball (Military) but played both WR and CB in Highschool. Though my whacked out HC would play me on the Defensive Line as an End. At that time I stood 5'8" and weighed MAYBE 125 lbs. soaking wet. Not much has changed over 20 years just a couple inches taller. So I do believe you but dude, you could not have been much heavier if I'm judging the pics of you correctly.
C.A., Goldendale, Wa.
Answer: Ummmmm, wasn’t the lesson from “Waterboy” to never make fun of the Waterboy?… When I say I played football on Saturdays, I didn’t mean in front of thousands of cheering college football fans. I meant hungover at 10 a.m. in a municipal park in which we had to dodge dog doo. And as a fellow shrimp, why are you making fun of me? That’s shrimp-on-shrimp crime, and that’s just wrong.